Racing with the Wind: Fred Stritt - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Racing with the Wind: Fred Stritt

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In sailing, every boat has a story.

“That's his boat and his crew,” Fred Stritt said of one of the fifty boats competing in the 32nd annual Hook Race on Lake Michigan.

But the boat's skipper passed of nasal cancer just two months before the race.

“One of his last wishes was that a crew take it and race,” Stritt said.

And they did. Every boat has a story and Stritt's vessel, the Hasten, tells of a former love and current pace.

“Freddy's wife before she passed, her name was Cindy,” Danielle Dickert, member of Stritt's crew for 13 years, said. “And he used to say 'Hey Cyn...I need this' or 'Hey Cyn...I need that.'”

Stritt wanted to title his boat “the HeyCyn” as an ode to his wife, but she preferred that he be a bit more subtle.

“It was a double entendre, Hey, Cyn and to hasten, move quickly,” Dickert said. “She said to spell it correctly and they would know what it means.”

Every boat has a story, and the skipper of this yacht adds to its narrative by inviting more tales to be apart of the sail.

One year ago, Dana Robb was set to sail before an unexpected shift threw her off one boat and onto Stritt's.

“The morning of the race my skipper called and said he was canceling,” Robb said. “So, I went down to the yacht club knocking on boat doors 'do you have room? do you have room?'”

“Fred was the one who said yes. I literally went 'hi you don't know me here is my gear I am sailing with you.'”

Every boat has a story, and the chapters in Stritt's always start with an invite.

“I met freddy when I was at a hardware store in college,” Dickert said. “He told me to step down to the boat and part of me was like maybe I don't know this guy.”

“Thirteen years later, we have been sailing together. He is like my second dad.”

So, when I asked Stritt for a spot on the boat, he bypassed questions about my intentions and asked how big I was, and if I could throw a line.

Every boat, and person on it, writes their page in the storybook of a race.

And, everyone on the Hasten, includes a story about Freddy.

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